From the moment A’keria C. Davenport sauntered onto the RuPaul’s Drag Race stage, we knew that we had a true professional on board. With the Davenport name behind her and the talent to match, this Davenport family member relied on her talent and consistency to make it all the way to the final four of the season. While she may not have snagged the crown, Davenport’s pedigree, sublimely stunning looks, & consistent homage to the history of drag will take her far in her post Drag Race career. I caught up with A’keria after the finale to talk about what the whole Drag Race experience was like for her, how she was able to stay focused on the challenges with the various battles between her cast mates popping up at any time, and how being a mentor to fellow competitors simply comes naturally.
MC: The whole RuPaul’s Drag Race experience is now in the rearview mirror. When you look back at the entire experience, how does it make you feel?
ACD: You know, it’s almost like an out of body experience really. When I look back on it, prior to the show I hated to watching myself on television. When I would do pageants and people would record them, I never wanted to watch them back; I critique myself so hard. Looking back and accomplishing something that I was afraid of doing because I was afraid of failing, I am just so proud; I am proud of myself period. The little boy who started out doing drag on Friday night shows, when I was told that I would be nothing more than a Friday night show girl with no talent, to now make it to this point in my career…it’s amazing.
MC: You are officially now the Diahann Carroll of RuPaul’s Drag Race. if there was ever a perfect reference for you, this would definitely be it.
ACD: I am definitely the Diahann Carroll of the Drag Race dynasty, yes baby!
MC: What do you think was the hardest part of the Drag Race experience for you?
ACD: Allowing myself to just let go. Doing pageants, I strategize, I think, I study, and I really get down to the nitty gritty of the system that I am doing to. I look to see what it is they are looking for & what it is I need to do in order to win. With Drag Race, there is no formula. If there is a formula, I would say the formula is to just be free. Just allow yourself to act the fool at all times. That was the hardest part-allowing myself to just let go of everything that I had made A’keria.
MC: So many of the girls the year were battling with each other, and you seemed to stay out of the fray for the most part and looked over your shoulder at them while you were concentrating on the challenge you were working on. Was that strategy?
ACD: My thing is, I am not going to involve myself in anything that does not concern me. I also come from a background where, if there is a situation going on, the best way to handle it is to address it. I would just address situations as they come; most times, it didn’t really bother me. I am just observant, I am gonna see exactly what is going on, pay attention to my surroundings, and try to focus on what I needed to do to get through this challenge, At that point and time while you are there, there is so much that goes on in your head, it’s hard to focus on anything else. Arguing with someone was not that big of an issue for me when I am trying to figure out what it is I need to do to at least win a challenge.
MC: Did you try to attempt to mentor and guide some of the girls while at the same time, stay focused on your own success during the completion? You definitely seemed to want to give the other girls a hand when you could.
ACD: I am not gonna say it’s a hard balance for me, it’s actually something that comes naturally for me. Anybody that knows me personally, knows that if you are friends with A’keria, A’keria is gonna do everything she can to make sure that make sure everybody around her is okay before she gets herself together. I know exactly what I am going to do with myself. I would rather lend a hand when I can to make sure I help others, to make sure they also look good, especially if we have a friendship or bond. I may have a strength that others may not have. For instance, Vanjie calls me the “MacGyver of Drag”; when it comes to zippers and sewing someone up; it’s something that comes naturally to me, so I would just jumpy right in to it. I am confident in myself to the point that I can help someone out and still be strong in what I am doing. For example, If I see someone has a hole in their garment, I am going to tell them they have a hole. I won’t let them walk out there with a hole in their garment just because we’re competing with each other. I know what I bring to the table; the only way to win is if you complete with the best.
MC The Davenport family is drag royalty nationwide. From Kennedy to Honey to yourself, the Davenport family has been represented on almost every season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
ACD: I mean, Davenports have always been known to love the drag and we love to show it. It is something that is just in us really. Kelexis Davenport is the mother of the Davenport clan and it is really something that has been invested in all of us. In terms of different Davenports going on Drag Race, it is kind of just something that trickles down as new children come along.
MC: Do you think a future iteration of All Stars could possibly be in your future?
ACD: I am actually just happy to sit back for a minute. I am not going to run to All Stars at this point, I have had my Drag Race experience. Right now, I want to use the platform that I now have to take care of some things that I have also wanted to take care of, with charities and different avenues that I want to explore, Once I get a lot of those things accomplished, then I would go back to Drag Race. With doing drag period, you want to make sure home is taken care of first; before you go purchasing some wigs, you want to make sure that rent is paid!
MC: So many girls go into Drag Race and try to edit themselves for the cameras or paint themselves as a particular character. What advice do you have for a girl who is thinking about trying out for a future season of Drag Race?
ACD: Stick to who you are. No one is perfect; the more that you try to portray yourself as perfect, it comes off as fraudulent. The fans cane be toxic when it comes to you making mistakes on the show, but what you have to first realize is that people are going to talk regardless, whether you are doing good, bad, or ugly. As long as you are staying true to who you are and your authentic self, you can still proceed and continue going in your own career, regardless of what the negative comments are; you know exactly who you are. Don’t be afraid of mistakes, we’re human. Everybody is gonna make mistakes, baby. If you feel that you did something on the show that you don’t like and you watch it back, that is something to now show you what you did and give you an opportunity to change it.
MC: What gives you Pride?
ACD: The children that come behind me. We live in a world with so much bullying and so much suicide as a result of that. I just want to make sure that with pride season coming up, people embrace and love who they are, regardless of what the world has to say about them. More and more, we are making gay or trans the new norm and taking one step forward, at the same time we have to realize it is going to be a slow race. Enjoy who you are in your life and be who you want your authentic self to be.
All Art Courtesy of VH1